Capacity-Building for Complex Crises: Developing public health leadership and meeting decision-makers’ evidence needs
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Uncover, University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
Uncover, University of Edinburgh
Uncover, University of Edinburgh Germany
Uncover, University of Edinburgh Denmark
Uncover, University of Edinburgh Canada
Uncover, University of Edinburgh India
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A468
Uncover is a global network of academics and students, based at the University of Edinburgh, providing rapid evidence syntheses for decision-makers. Founded in response to Covid-19, UNCOVER now also addresses other complex real-world challenges with a public health dimension, from emerging infectious diseases to climate change. Despite starting as an urgent crisis response, UNCOVER has always taken a reflective, collaborative approach to its own methods and practices. This has shaped our critical focus on capacity-building – in order to meet decision-makers’ evidence needs today and to prepare the public health leaders of the future – which may provide useful insights to others with similar priorities.

Uncover has taken various formal and informal approaches to understanding what works and identifying improvements. Among these, key initiatives include: * Staff-led qualitative interviews with staff and student volunteers, carried out in the early months of UNCOVER’s existence; * An in-depth qualitative study carried out by UNCOVER student members in 2021; * A 2022 workshop with student members, exploring how UNCOVER has contributed to their learning and development; * After-Action Reviews of some UNCOVER projects.

Uncover’s working model contributes to four different dimensions of public health capacity-building, by bridging gaps between: * NOVICES AND EXPERTS: Providing meaningful opportunities for applied, collaborative work, with a focus on nurturing and developing students’ skills; * DISCIPLINES: Developing tools and resources which support common understanding and knowledge translation between disciplines, with an emphasis on quality and rigour; * ACADEMIA AND POLICY: Building partnerships with decision-makers and prioritising real-world questions; * COUNTRIES: Creating a wholly online community, with a global membership, in which all community members bring valuable insights and knowledge.

Uncover’s working model may provide some useful insights for others with an interest in public health capacity-building, with a twin focus on addressing the challenges of today and preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

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